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Rossies will focus Mayo minds

Sport

JOINT APPROACH Roscommon manager Kevin McStay and his coach Liam McHale will be pitting their wits against their native county next weekend. Pic: Sportsfile

Talking Tactics
Billy Joe Padden

WE’RE all wondering which Mayo will turn up next Saturday night in Castlebar.
The team that were so poor for so long against Monaghan and Kerry, or the team that came to life so brilliantly in the second half down in Tralee.
There’s no doubt that Mayo will need to be ‘on’ from the very start against the Rossies.
Will we see Stephen Rochford tighten things up at the back again? I’ve made my feelings fairly clear on where I would position Kevin McLoughlin, and I’d love to see him back sweeping and attacking from deep again sooner rather than later.
After losing both of their opening games against Tyrone and Donegal, Roscommon will come to Castlebar desperate for points.
I watched the Donegal game and I have to say that I thought the Rossies were desperately unlucky. They had chances to win that match but butchered far too many of them.
And that’s been a recurring theme for me watching Roscommon over the last 12 months. A lack of composure in front of goal in big league and championship games.
It happened against Mayo too in The Hyde last year, and that made all the difference that day.
That inability to manage situations, take the right options, and punish the opposition when you get the chance is something that comes from experience.
Kevin McStay has a lost a lot of quality footballers around the middle third of the field since last year through retirements and lads opting out, and they’re not easily replaced.
It means that Roscommon are going to struggle to win a lot of ball around the middle of the field against big teams, and that means that they’re going to have be more efficient and economical than everyone else.
From my perspective, Ciaran Murtagh and Enda Smith are Roscommon’s two best attackers.
They’re also the two lads that you can trust most to do the right things at the right times.
The sight of a Roscommon jersey on Saturday night will focus the Mayo minds fairly quickly, and this is a chance to put down a marker ahead of a possible rematch in the championship.

Freeman bows out
I WAS sorry to hear Alan Freeman has had to leave the panel due to work commitments.
But maybe he needs a break from the whole inter-county scene, and a chance to go away and refresh himself by playing club football.
Alan has always been a real confidence player, and he’s struggled for consistency over the last few years with Mayo.
Despite his best efforts, and doing everything he could I’m sure to get the best out of himself, he just wasn’t able to force his way into the starting team on a regular basis.
And he hasn’t looked like a guy who could make a big impact off the bench either.
I think Alan just needs to start enjoying his football again, start playing with a bit more freedom, and not feel like every ball is life or death. There’s no doubt he has the ability.

Parsons sits it out
I’D have a lot of sympathy for Tom Parsons, who’s suspended for the weekend.
I think the GAA have decided that they’re going to clamp down on the pushing and shoving that’s going on far too much nowadays in inter-county football, and Tom is the guy who’s been caught in the crossfire this time.
There’s way too much contact in matches now, the Mayo/Monaghan match was littered with examples of guys pulling and pushing and dragging around kick-outs, frees, line balls, hop balls. It was ridiculous at times.
Tom is going to be a big loss for Mayo, but I think he might be best to accept his punishment this time around. Mayo might need to win a bigger appeal later on in the summer, so it might be no harm to keep our powder dry.

 

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